Past Event

Elizabeth Povinelli | Frontier Imaginaries: Toxic Political Concepts

October 18, 2017 - October 22, 2017
6:00 PM
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Room 612, Schermerhorn Hall, New York, NY 10027

Public seminar delivered by Professor Elizabeth Povinelli at Columbia University.

TOXIC ASSETS is a public seminar featuring dance, poetry, art installation, screenings, and talks that responds to the question: What would it take to detox New York City? The project marks the arrival of art and research initiative Frontier Imaginaries to New York City from October 18–22, as a guest of e-flux lectures and Columbia University’s Ruth S. Biermann Memorial Meetings.

The ragged infrastructures and gleaming salad bars of New York City stand as the historic epicenter of the late liberal fold—a hit that, like any bad drug, goes by a handful of names. “Structural adjustment” suggested an improving spin to the debt-disciplined global south; in Australia, it was “the recession we had to have” while European metropoles have come to know its caustic reflux as “austerity.”

What kind of topology can grasp the belatedness and trans-local intimacy of the global condition? What concepts might emerge as useful where existing political tropes continue to perpetuate harm? And how are arts and the aesthetic caught within the crosshairs of the liberal dilemma, whereby the difficulty with having a critique of liberalism is that the fascists have one too?

The click-and-drag mobility of Frontier Imaginaries will draw forward work already undertaken in Brisbane (at the Institute of Modern Art, QUT Art Museum and Australian Cinémathèque) and Jerusalem (with Al Ma’mal Foundation and 3rd Qalandiya International), that will continue on to work underway in Eindhoven (with the Van Abbemuseum).

The New York edition will be an itinerary of encounters spanning four days in October—featuring a film seminar at Columbia University, and a three-day program of talks, performances, poetry, and screenings at e-flux.

The program at e-flux will be housed in a shifting environment with artist Christian Nyampeta’s Infrastructure of Quasi-Events, Farida Sedoc’s FREETOWN LOUNGE, Richard Bell’s Embassy, and Elizabeth A. Povinelli’s Symphony of Late Liberalism, including an extended Requiem of Late Liberalism featuring video contributions from artists and activists internationally.

PROGRAM (Download presentation times and abstracts)

Wednesday, October 18, 6–8pm | Columbia University, Schermerhorn Hall
Cinema Assets
Will be a screening program hosted by Columbia University, featuring the Karrabing Film Collective together with Cuban filmmaker Miguel Coyula and actor Lynn Cruz. 

Friday, October 20, 6:30–9:30pm, open from 5:30pm | e-flux
Toxic Languages
Will begin the three-day program at e-flux with an evening exploring languages of value, and the value of language; featuring a summoning by Brian Kuan Wood, a keynote by Elizabeth A. Povinelli, dance by Tara Crichlow, poetry by Demian DinéYazhi’, and responses by Gregg Bordowitz; moderated by Vivian Ziherl.

Saturday, October 21, 1–9pm, open from 12pm | e-flux
Toxic Properties
Will be a day-long series of paired dialogues on ‘Frontier Properties’, ‘Volatile Properties’, ‘Urban Properties’, ‘Vital Properties’, and ‘Rebellious Properties’—examining the contractual basis of value, the proprietisation of the imagination, and artist as well as activist uses of contract languages. Each dialogue will be opened through the frame of an artwork installed in the space. Featuring speakers Jonathan Beller, Jaskiran Dhillon, Cassie Fennell, Laura Harris, Yazan Khalili, David Kim, Angela Mitropoulos, Rachel O’Reilly, Greg Tate, Neferti X. M. Tadiar, and artists Bonita Ely, Gordon Hookey, Maria Hupfield, Ryan Presley, and MTL Collective.

Sunday, October 22, 3–5:30pm, open from 2pm | e-flux
Toxic Sovereignty
Will take place as an afternoon screening and cinematic dialogue, delving into the paradoxes of sovereignty amidst dispossession. The term “toxic sovereignty” refers to a scene in the film Windjarrameru: The Stealing C*nt$ where, pursued by police, a group of boys flee into a toxic swamp giving rise to the memorable line: “We’re safe, too much radiation here; we’re safe.” The film will be screened in full, and will be accompanied by the largest group of the Karrabing Film Collective to travel overseas to date. ‘Cinematic dialogues’ or fragments of further films will be contributed by Julieta Aranda, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, and Adania Shibli. The program will be staged within the artwork Embassy by Richard Bell, who will MC the proceedings.

Contributors: Julieta Aranda, Richard Bell, Jonathan Beller, Gregg Bordowitz, Miguel Coyula and Lynn Cruz, Jaskiran Dhillon, Bonita Ely, Karrabing Film Collective, Tara Chrichlow, Demian DinéYazhi’, Cassie Fennell, Laura Harris, Gordon Hookey, Maria Hupfield, David Kim, Yazan Khalili, Angela Mitropoulos, Naeem Mohaiemen, Ho Rui An, Christian Nyampeta, MTL Collective, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Rachel O’Reilly, Ryan Presley, Farida Sedoc, Adania Shibli, Neferti X. M. Tadiar, Greg Tate, and others

Convened by: Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Brian Kuan Wood, and Vivian Ziherl

Advance booking required. 

TOXIC ASSETS: Frontier Imaginaries Ed.No3 is supported by Columbia University in particular the Ruth S. Biermann Memorial Meetings, the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, the Center for Palestine Studies, and the Department of Anthropology; by e-flux; and by UnionDocs through their workshops program. The program is made possible through funding support from the Australia Council for the Arts and from the Mondriaan Fund.

For more information, contact program [​at​]

(Source: e-flux)